Insight Meditation Center
Ban Luang, Chom Tong, Chiangmai 50160 Tel: 053 826869
Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong Voravihara is situated on a Holy Buddhist Site with a history dating back own than 2500 years. Enshrined within the Main Temple (Vihara) is a highly revered relic of the Lord Buddha, the Most Exalted Phra Dakkhinamoli Relic, which is an object of faithful devotion and veneration for the Thai people. Inside of the Main Temple one may also find a number of anneal Buddha Images and other historical artifacts. Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong Voravihara is as the Royal Temple Registry and is considered to be a National Historic Treasure. Visitors and students coming to the Main Temple area are kindly requested to be polite at all times.
The Insight Meditation Center (Samnak Vipassana Kammatthana) at Wat Phradhatu Sri Ch m Tong was founded by the Abbot, Most Venerable Chao Khun Phra Raja Prommajarn (Ajarn Tong Sirinnangalo), in 1992.
The Meditation Center offers residential courses in Satipatthana Vipassana Meditation (Insight Meditation based on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness) on an on-going basis. A beginning course may take approximately 26-30 days. For those who have completed the basic course, 10-day Insight Meditation Retreats may be taken. Shorter stays are subject to room availability.
Due to the high number of students and the limited accommodations, new students are allowed a total stay of no longer than 40 days, subject to room availability. Reservations are highly recommended, especially during the winter (November - February) and rainy (July - October) seasons. Room priority will be given to those who have made prior reservations. Valid passport and visas are required for the duration of your stay. All travel plans and correspondence should be taken care of in advance.
If you wish to join the Meditation course offered here please inform the receptionist at the center office. The following items are required:
A completed application form with your signature and sponsor letter or sponsor signature (if requested).
One photocopy each of your valid passport, visa with entry stamp.
Your arrival and departure dates (from this temple).
The Customary Offerings for the Opening Ceremony: Eleven white lotuses (or other white flowers), Eleven yellow candles and eleven incense sticks.
At least two sets of white clothing: For men: Loose, modest, white trousers and shirts (and underwear), For women: Loose, modest (non transparent) white sarong, or trousers, a loose white shirt, white underwear, slip and a sabai.
A functioning (digital) timer or alarm clock.
Your own sitting mat or cushion if you are unable to sit on the floor.
All personal toilet items.
A pair of plastic sandals or slip-on shoes are recommended.
According to Buddhist tradition, there are two main types of Bhavana, mental culture or mental development: Samatha Bhavana, the development of calm and tranquility, and Vipassana Bhavana, the development of liberating Insight.
In Samatha Meditation, or the development of tranquillity, one concentrates one's attention on a conceptualized object, for instance, by repeating a mantra, such as Buddho, Buddho, Buddho; or by visualizing a mandala or deity; or by staring at a candle flame, a bowl of water, or a crystal ball, fusing one's attention with those elements in order to develop deeper and deeper states of concentrated absorption.
According to ancient Buddhist tradition there are 40 Meditational Objects, including the 10 Kasinas, the 10 Asubhas, the 10 Anusati, to name a few, which lead to the subsiding of mental turbulence and the development of calm and tranquil states of mind.
During the course of a meditation session one experiences peace, calm and tranquility. This kind of calm is realized by the temporary suppression of mental hindrances and impurities through concentrated absorption. But as soon as one returns to one's daily life and mundane problems, one experiences dissatisfaction, discomfort, stress, mental turbulence, suffering.
The Lord Buddha compared these states of calm, 'Just like putting a stone on top of grass, it stops the grass from growing, but as soon as the stone is removed, the grass begins to grow."
Vipassana is a Pali word which means: seeing dearly, seeing specially, or seeing through. (Vi - dearly, specially, into, through + passana - seeing) Vipassana means introspection, intuitive wisdom, intuitive knowledge. Vipassana is often translated as Insight.
Seeing what clearly? Insight into what?
Vipassana means seeing into the true nature of reality. It means seeing things as they truly are. Vipassana is the direct and intuitive understanding of the true nature of all mental and physical phenomena. Vipassana is intuitive knowledge or Insight into the true nature of the mind and the body, or Nama and Rupa which make up the Five Aggregates of Existence. Vipassana is the realization that all mental and physical phenomena are constantly changing, or uncertain; stressful or dissatisfactory; uncontrollable, void of substance or not belonging to oneself. Seeing this dearly with understanding, one realizes the true nature of suffering, and lets go of habits and attitudes which lead to the continuation of it.
Vipassana is developed by the progressive application of the Four Satipatthana, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.
The word Sati is derived from the Pali verb sar, which means to remember, to recollect. Sati means more than just memory or recollection. It means, contemplation, reflection, recollection, heedfulness, carefulness, collected attention, awareness or vigilance. Sati is often translated as Mindfulness. The practice of Mindfulness or Sati, consists of moment to moment mindful contemplation, heedfulness, attentiveness, and recollection of all of the activities of the Body, Feelings, Mind and Mind Objects. These are the Four Foundations or Applications of Mindfulness. Exercises in Mindful Prostration, Mindful Walking Meditation and Sitting Meditation are given in order to activate and develop Mindfulness.
Skillful and progressive application of Mindfulness on the Four Foundations leads to the development of liberating Insight. Without the cultivation of Mindfulness, Insight will not arise.
1. Meditators must read the Introduction for Meditators and Rules for Meditators and completely fill out and sign the attached Application Form and provide a photocopy of valid passport and visa with TM card and entry stamp to the Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong Vipassana Meditation Center Office. Meditators must also supply a sponsor letter or sponsor signature if requested to do so.
2. Meditators must faithfully follow each and every one of the Rules for Meditators of the Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong Vipassana Meditation Center.
3. Meditators must observe Correct Speech or Noble Silence during the course of their practice. Meditators are forbidden to compare or discuss their meditation conditions or personal problems or to socialize with each other. This includes talking to monks or nuns who may wish to help you but are not qualified to teach. Meditators are forbidden to instruct each other or to judge each others' practice. If you have any questions or doubts about the practice, ask only your Teacher. Do not discuss or compare your own meditation instructions or advice given by your Teacher. Do not destroy your friend's practice by relating your personal experiences. Ignore those who insist upon talking.
4. Pure conduct is essential for progress in Meditation.
All Monks must make confession before receiving the Meditation, and should wear their robes as shown by their advisor (Horn Dong). All monks must join together in the Patimokkha at the appointed times.
All novices and nuns must renew their respective precepts in the Opening Ceremony. Novices and nuns must observe their respective sila.
All lay Meditators must follow the Eight Buddhist Precepts, intensive practice will make this easy. Meditators receive the Eight Precepts in the Opening Ceremony, and renew them in the Dhamma Sala at 7:00 p.m. on Wan Gon, the evening before each Buddhist Holy Day (Wan Phra).
The Eight Buddhist Precepts
1. To refrain from killing living beings.
2. To refrain from stealing, or taking what has not been given.
3. To refrain from unchaste behaviour, or any kind of sexual activity.
4. To refrain from false, harsh, rude, harmful, or useless speech.
5. To refrain from using alcohol, drugs or intoxicants.
6. To refrain from eating after 12:00 noon .
7. To refrain from singing, dancing, entertainment's, perfumes,
cosmetics, decorations and adornments.
8. To refrain from using large and luxurious seats and beds.
5. Meditators must practice sincerely and maintain mindfulness at all times. Meditators should be sincerely committed to their Meditation Course. Meditators should develop an attitude of care and respect regarding the practice and the Teaching. Meditators should not be lazy or scornful regarding the Meditation Instructions or Discipline. Continuity of Mindfulness should be developed and maintained, e.g. while eating or performing other activities, meditators should move slowly and carefully and be mindful and aware of each and every action.
6. Please respect the Meditative Environment at all times. Do not talk or socialize with each other. Meditators are forbidden to enter each others' rooms or to cause disturbance inside the Meditation areas. Maintain Mindfulness when entering, exiting and practicing inside of the Dhamma Sala. Respect Thai custom regarding seating and position of feet and legs.
7. Studying about or practicing other meditation techniques is not allowed here. Do not mix other meditation techniques or disciplines during the course of your practice, as this can be dangerous. This includes: Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Yoga, Reiki, Shamanism, fortune-telling, etc. Follow the Meditation Instructions as as given by your Teacher. Ask questions to clear up any doubts you may have about the technique. Be sure to inform your Teacher of any problems you may be having with your meditation. Set aside your previous experience and learn something new.
8. Reading, writing, books or letters and socializing are forbidden during the course of your practice, as are radios, television, walk mans, newspapers, computers and computer games. The use of telephones, cell-phones, e-mail or other forms of communication are also forbidden during your practice, except in case of actual emergencies.
9. Visitors are not allowed to enter Meditators' rooms or to enter the Meditation areas. Any visiting must be done in the reception area only (near the office), not inside of the meditation areas. Do not disturb other Meditators, or cause disturbance or any kind inside of the Meditation areas. Men are not permitted to enter women's rooms, women are not permitted to enter men's rooms.
10. All meditators must keep a neat and dean appearance and be properly dressed at all times. Clothing (or robes) should be washed daily. Sunbathing and nudity are not permitted. Doors should be locked and curtains drawn while bathing or dressing.
11. Meditators must keep their rooms and surrounding areas, bathrooms, etc, dean and hygienic at all times. Food must be stored properly as it will attract insects. Rubbish should be disposed of daily in the rubbish bins.
12. If you are tired you may lie down in your own room and take a rest, but sleeping during the daytime is not permitted. Meditators should sleep only once, at night, from 10:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m., for 6 hours, or less.
13. Absolutely no drugs or alcohol. Those found in possession of or using drugs or alcohol will be subject to expulsion and/or arrest. Cigarette smoking and caffeinated beverages are not recommended and should only be consumed at absolute minimum during your course. No smoking in
public places. Smoke minimally, mindfully and alone.
14. Meditators are not permitted to leave the Temple area during their course, unless absolutely necessary. Meditators must first receive permission from their Teacher or advisor if it is necessary to leave the Temple area.
15. A bell rings before each meal. Breakfast is served at 6:00 a.m. and lunch at 11:00 a.m. Latecomers may not be served. Please serve yourself only as much food as you will eat, and dean up carefully after yourself. Solid food is not permitted from 12:00 noon until 6:00 a.m. the next day.
16. Eat mindfully and preferably alone. Socializing is not permitted. Hot drinks may be taken from the drink kiosk, during your breaks, and consumed mindfully and alone. Glasses, spoons, etc., should be washed up immediately afterwards and returned to the kiosk.
17. Turn off and unplug all electric fans, lights, etc., when not in use. The use of immersion hot water heaters (hot-rods) is forbidden.
18. Candles are not allowed in Meditators' rooms, except in the case of electrical black-out.
19. Please do not touch others. No kissing, hugging, holding hands, massaging or physical contact of any kind.
20. Meditators are advised to keep their rooms locked at all times. Valuable items should be kept locked in your suitcase inside of your room
21. Meditators will be held responsible in case of injury, loss or damage to any Temple or Insight Meditation Center personnel or property.
22. The Temple and Vipassana (Insight) Meditation Center Authorities and Teachers at Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong will not be held responsible in case of loss, damage, injury or illness to person or property of any Meditator or participant in the meditation center or meditation course.
23. The Temple and Vipassana (Insight) Meditation Center Authorities and Teachers at Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong reserve the right to refuse entry. The Temple and Vipassana (Insight) Meditation Authorities and Teachers at Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong reserve the right to expulsion in case of disrespect regarding the Rules for Meditators and the Meditation Instructions and in case of endangerment to oneself or to others.
24. Before departing all Meditators dean their rooms and surrounding areas and return any Meditation Center properties. Any damaged or lost properties should be replaced in new condition. Borrowed clothing should be washed and dean
25. Upon completion of the course all Meditators should pay respect to the Teacher and receive the Five Buddhist Precepts in the Closing Ceremony. Donations to the Meditation Center and Teachers may be given at that time.
These guidelines are for the safety and benefit of everyone, and for the promotion of the Meditative Environment. Your kind cooperation ensures the quality of your meditation!
Note: Due to the intensive nature of the Vipassana Meditation courses offered here it is imperative that all prospective students inform the Insight Meditation Center Authorities and Teachers on the Application Form the exact nature of any family history and/or personal history or diagnosis and/or treatment or therapy for mental illness including but not limited to: All types of depression, manic depression, schizophrenia, psychosis, borderline and other personality disorders, eating disorders, obsessive, compulsive disorders, etc.,. In case a prior history of mental illness is indicated, the Insight Meditation Center Authorities and Teachers may withhold admission and/or Meditation Instruction for the safety and well-being of the student(s), as intensive practice is not recommended.
It is the responsibility of all prospective students to inform the Insight Meditation Center Authorities and Teachers on the Application Form of any history of chronic or disabling injury and/or illness or mental illness, including treatment or therapy; as well as any history of drug and/ or alcohol abuse and/ or addiction.
The Meditation Teachers may advise the student(s) in some cases to seek alternative courses which are conducted on a less intensive basis.
Remember, your signature on the Application Form is your disclosure and agreement. All participants will take full responsibility. The Vipassana Meditation Center at Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong and the Meditation Center Personnel and Temple Authorities will not be held responsible for loss, illness or injury to participants.
Opening and Closing Ceremony
Before beginning a meditation course, each student will participate in a traditional 'Opening Ceremony'. An Assistant Teacher or and Advisor will assist you. At this time flowers, incense and candles are offered. In the Opening Ceremony you will pay respect to the Teacher, take Refuge in the Three Gems, undertake the Eight Buddhist Precepts, request the Meditation and ask forgiveness from the Meditation Teacher.
Upon completion of the course, you will pay respect to the Teacher in the Closing Ceremony, and receive further advice.
Demonstration and Report
An advisor or your Teacher will give a brief explanation and demonstrate the initial meditation exercises. You will be assigned to a Meditation Teacher to whom you must report every day. A report is a personal meeting between you and your Teacher who will direct your meditation and give you individualized instruction. You should be prepared to give a brief and accurate description of how you experienced your meditation object during the periods of meditation, since you last reported. The meditator is advised to listen carefully during the interview and to respond honestly if asked questions concerning their practice.
Wan Gon (Kesoropanadivasa)
(The Day Before Buddhist Holy Day)
On the evening before Buddhist Holy Day, all meditators must renew their Eight Precepts in the Dhamma Sala at 7.45 p.m. Men are seated in the front row. Women are seated behind the nuns. A sermon in Thai follows, which may at times be translated.
Buddhist Holy Day (Wan Phra or Uposatha Day)
Wan Phra falls on the quarters of the moon, every seven or eight days according to the Thai Buddhist Calendar. It is indicated in the Thai calendars by a picture of the Lord Buddha or a picture of the moon. Meditators are welcome to join the evening chanting, Wien Tien (Padakkhina) and group meditation in the main Sala beginning at 6.30 p.m.
Additional Advice About Thai Custom
The international students are welcome guests here at the Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong Voravihara Insight Meditation Center. The international students will continue to be welcome guests if they abide by the Rules for Meditators and the following recommendations. Thailand is a predominately Buddhist country, which has been steeped in Buddhist cultural ethics and traditions for more than 2000 years. In Buddhist Temples (In Thailand and in all other Buddhist countries), polite conduct is expected of visitors and residents. As visitors, the foreign students should be aware of the following customs:
1. When addressing a monk, the honorific, Phra or Luang Poh should precede his name. When addressing a novice, Nane should precede his name. When addressing a nun, the word Mae Chee should come before her name. When addressing your teacher, Ajarn should precede the name. When passing by or approaching a monk or novice, please give priority to the monk or novice. It is appropriate to join both hands in anjali, while they pass by.
2. The platforms and mats in the Temple, Meditation Hall and Main Sala, are to be used by the monks only. Please do not remove the mats. The cushion provided by the Meditation Center is a pillow for sleeping. It is for your head only. Do not sit on it, as this is unacceptable by the Thais. Your head is considered the highest part of the body. (If you require a thicker cushion for sitting, fold up a blanket or your towel or provide your own sitting cushion.)
3. One should be especially mindful of one's feet, which are considered the lowest and dirtiest part of the body. One should never point one's feet at a Buddha Image, or at another person. One should never step on or over anybody or anyone's property (such as books, handbags, offerings, clothing or food). When entering or exiting the meditation hall (the Dhamma Sala) or the Main Sala, one should be careful not to step or stand over anybody, especially monks, novices or nuns, if they are seated on the floor, one should step (or crawl) mindfully around. Respect Thai custom by sitting politely during ceremonies (no spread out legs or knees, etc.) The proper way to sit is in kneeling position, or with your legs tucked to the side of the body and the feet pointing back (mermaid position), or you may sit cross-legged.
4. Be respectful of the Temple and Meditation Center properties. This includes properties which one may be borrowing for the duration of their course. Clothing, blankets, mats and pillows have all been kindly donated. Thai and other Buddhists believe that gifts offered to a Temple bring them much Merit, and that if Temple properties are damaged or destroyed they should be replaced. Properties should be returned in their original (or better than original) condition.
Meditation Hall Etiquette
- Be Mindful when entering, exiting and practicing in the Meditation Hall.
- Do not cut off anyone's walking path, or stand over them while they are sitting. - Stay away from the monks and nuns, keep a respectful distance.
- When resting do so mindfully. Do not lie down in the Meditation Hall, stretching or exercising is not appropriate.
- Choose a short path for walking, 3 or 4 meters, across the width of the Hall. Do not walk up and down the length of the Hall.
- If possible carry your timer with you in your pocket while walking, or observe the clock. Turn off your timer promptly, so as not to disturb other Meditators. - Please do not wear 'noisy' clothing, such as nylon trousers or jackets. - Practice Mindfulness of all the movements and activities of the Body.
All of the Meditation Instruction and Facilities at the Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong Voravihara Insight Meditation Center have been made possible by the kind donations of your fellow meditators. All Teachers and other Insight Meditation Center Personnel give their time and experience on a volunteer basis. They receive no salaries, but they also contribute generously to the function and maintenance of the Insight Meditation Center. Your kind contribution is greatly appreciated. Your gift ensures the continuation of the Teaching and gives the gift of Dhamma to others. You may place your donation for the Insight Meditation Center (for the facilities such as accommodations, food, water, electricity, etc.,) in an envelope, with your full name, and offer it during the Closing Ceremony or in the Meditation Center office. The receptionist will issue you an official receipt. If you wish to contribute to the Teaching, you may place a separate donation in an envelope and offer it directly to your Teacher.
The Gift of Dhamma excels all other Gifts!